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Composer of the Week

Hector Berlioz

Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Hector Berlioz

Berlioz is perhaps unique among composers in having had a literary gift almost the equal of his musical one. He earned his bread-and-butter living as a writer, turning out witty and often acerbic music criticism for the influential Journal des débats and Gazette musicale among others. Donald starts this week with a look at Berlioz through his engaging, passionate and entertaining Memoirs. Next, he delves into the world of Berlioz’s literary muses – first and foremost, Virgil, Goethe and Shakespeare. We hear about Benvenuto Cellini, the opera whose “verve, impetus and brilliance” Berlioz feared he would never again equal, and his attempt to secure the coveted Prix de Rome amidst the thundering July Revolution. We also encounter some of the celebrated musicians he rubbed shoulders with – among them Liszt, Cherubini, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Wagner and Paganini.

Music featured:
Les Nuits d’été, Op 7 (Villanelle)
Overture Les Francs-Juges, Op 3
Grande Messe des Morts, Op 5 (Dies irae)
La Damnation de Faust, Op 24 (extract)
Béatrice et Bénédict (Act 1)
Zaïde, Op 19 No 1
La Damnation de Faust, Op 24 (Part 2)
Waverley, grande ouverture, Op 1
Les Troyens, Op 29 (Act 1, finale)
Marche funèbre pour la dernière scène d’Hamlet (Tristia, Op 18)
La Captive, Op 12
Harold en Italie, Op 16 (IV. Orgie des brigands)
Le carnaval romain, Op 9
Benvenuto Cellini, Op 23 (extracts)
Messe solennelle (Quoniam tu solus Sanctus)
Épisode de la vie d’un artiste – Grande Symphonie fantastique, arr. Franz Liszt
Le roi Lear, grande ouverture, Op 4
Les nuits d’été, Op 7 (Absence)
Romeo et Juliette, Op 17 (Part 3)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Hector Berlioz
https://ift.tt/2HlYnuz

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://ift.tt/2HkB1Wl
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Debbie Wiseman

Donald Macleod visits Debbie Wiseman at home to discuss her long and varied career.

Debbie Wiseman has over two hundred credits for her music, ranging from television and film, to the concert hall and music for royal pageantry. Not only is she a multi-award winning composer, but also a teacher, pianist and conductor, often performing in and recording her own works. This week, Donald Macleod visits Debbie Wiseman at her home in London to discuss her long and varied career. We hear about the film composer’s craft of evoking different worlds in music, Debbie’s belief in versatility and lifelong learning, the challenges of composing for royal events, and her life outside the studio.

Music featured:
Wolf Hall
The Musical Zodiac
Haunted
Lesbian Vampire Killers
Wilde
Judge John Deed (Man of Law)
The Andrew Marr Show (Affairs Current)
Tom & Viv
The Nightingale and the Rose
Arsene Lupin
Lighthouse
The Promise
Warriors
Edie
The Ugly Duckling
Quiet Room
Gigue
The 90th Birthday Celebration Suite
The Glorious Garden
Tom’s Midnight Garden
Flood
Middletown
The Upper Hand (Joe & Diana)
Joanna Lumley’s Nile (Journey of a Lifetime)
Father Brown
Land Girls (While We’re Away)
The Selfish Giant

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Debbie Wiseman
https://ift.tt/2tUPfEB

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://ift.tt/2IZkAAc
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Johann Sebastian Bach

Donald Macleod travels alongside J S Bach as he moves from place to place throughout his life.

Donald begins with Bach’s early years in the towns of Eisenach and Ohrdruf, where his excellence as a singer and organist was first recognised. He first moved to Weimar at the age of 18, to work as a court musician, and later as an organist and concertmaster – it was here that he would write most of his organ repertoire, but also spent his time trying to please two antagonistic Dukes. Then we move to the city of Köthen, where Bach was employed at the court of Prince Leopold. The royal court offered Bach exactly what he had been denied in Weimar – the chance to build a really exceptional instrument ensemble. We arrive in Leipzig, where Bach was a public servant again, having to satisfy a plethora of different bodies and individuals. Although his time there was peppered with disputes and discontent, it was his home for 27 years and it is where he composed the bulk of the work that lives on. Finally, Donald explores the afterlife of Bach’s music, including his propulsion into outer space aboard the Voyager spacecraft’s Golden Record.

Music featured:
Magnificat
Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G major
Concerto in C major for organ
Partita No 1 for violin
Widerstehe doch der Sunde
Capriccio on the Departure of his Most Beloved Brother
Komm, Jesu, Komm
Toccata and Fugue in D minor for organ
Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor
Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn
The Art of Fugue
Cello Suite No 1 in G Major
Sonata for Violin and Piano No 3
Concerto No 2 in F major
Well-Tempered Clavier, No 1 in C major
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Violin Sonata No 1 in G minor
Orchestral Suite No 4 in D major
Musical Offering
Mass in B minor
Partita for Violin No 3 in E major
Capriccio in E major
St Matthew Passion
Goldberg Variations

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Martin Williams for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Johann Sebastian Bach
https://ift.tt/2TYsPxK

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://ift.tt/2NnLKzf
via IFTTT

Max Bruch

Donald Macleod explores Max Bruch’s violin works.

Melody, said Bruch, represents the “soul of music” and nowhere is that better represented than in his famous violin concerto. It’s a work which brought him fame and fortune, but it’s also a work he came to hate, since he felt its popularity suppressed performances of his other compositions. It’s a sentiment that has some justification, since Bruch wrote some two hundred odd works, the majority of which are rarely performed. This week, Donald Macleod looks at Max Bruch’s prickly professional relationships, his feeling of being overshadowed by Brahms, and the instrument with which he had a very close affinity.

Music featured:
Adagio Appassionato
Septet
6 pieces for solo piano Op 12
Violin Concerto no 1 in G minor, Op 26
Swedish dances, Op 63
Symphony No 2
Schön Ellen Op 24 for soprano, baritone and orchestra
Violin Concerto No 2 in D minor, Op 44
Bei den roten Rosen
Odysseus, Op 41
Scottish Fantasy
Kol nidrei Op 47
Symphony No 3
Romance in A minor, Op 42
Das Lied von der Glocke, Op 45
Violin concerto No 3
Eight pieces for clarinet, viola and piano, Op 83
Serenade, Op 75
String Octet in B flat major
Konzertstück in F sharp minor, Op 84

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Max Bruch:
https://bbc.in/2TRFvpQ

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2toSAvu
via IFTTT

William Grant Still

Donald Macleod explores the life and music of African-American composer William Grant Still (1895-1978).

This week Composer of the Week looks at Still’s transformative period of study with mentor Edgard Varèse, the writing of his breakthrough 1st Symphony the ‘Afro-American’, being embraced by the American musical establishment and becoming the first African-American to conduct a major US symphony orchestra, and his uphill struggles to establish himself as a composer of opera.

Music featured:
Brown Baby
Darker America
Breath of a Rose
La Guiablesse (The She-Devil), ballet
Africa, suite for orchestra (1. Land of Peace)
Quit Dat Fool’nish
Symphony No 1 in A flat, ‘Afro-American’
A Deserted Plantation
Kaintuck’, poem for piano and orchestra
Blues, Pt 1
Lenox Avenue (The Crap Game; The Flirtation; The Fight; The Law)
Symphony No 2 in G minor, ‘Song of a New Race’ (4. Moderately Slow)
Out of the Silence (Seven Traceries, No 4)
And They Lynched Him on a Tree
Old California
‘A Black Pierrot’ (Songs of Separation)
Incantation and Dance, for oboe and piano
Festive Overture
Bells
Symphony No 4, ‘Autochthonous’
Whippoorwill’s Shoes (Wood Notes)
Little Black Slave Child (Troubled Island)
Ennanga, for harp, piano and string quartet (1. Moderately fast)
Symphony No 3, ‘The Sunday Symphony’ (2. Prayer – very slowly; 3. Relaxation – Gaily)
Lyric Quartette
Highway One: Act I (extract)
Grief (Weeping Angel)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for William Grant Still:
https://bbc.in/2MXspVn

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2DnD9bi
via IFTTT

Michael Tippett

Donald Macleod and Oliver Soden look at Michael Tippett through his intense personal relationships.

Michael Tippett was a particularly absorbent composer, soaking up an incredibly wide range of inspirations and influences from the world around him, and perhaps most often from outside the field of music. His huge intellectual capacity and endless interest in other people combined with immense charisma to make him a personality to which everyone who met him seemed irresistibly drawn. His – often complex – relationships were particularly intense ones, and frequently blurred the lines between professional and personal, artistic and sexual.

This week Composer of the Week looks at some of the people closest to Tippett and asks what influence they had on the life and music of a man whose story has still never been fully told. Joining Donald Macleod to explore sometimes uncharted territory is Oliver Soden, the author of a new – and the first complete – biography of the composer.

Music featured:
Where The Bee Sucks from Songs for Ariel
A Child of Our Time (Part 1)
Byzantium 
Purcell arr. Tippett: If music be the food of love 
Piano Sonata No 1, 1st movement: Allegro
Suite in D for the Birthday of Prince Charles
The Heart’s Assurance
Variations on an Elizabethan Theme: Lament
Fantasia Concertante on a theme of Corelli
The Midsummer Marriage
Praeludium For Brass, Bells And Percussion
Music
String Quartet No 1: Lento Cantabile
Symphony No 2: Adagio molto e tranquillo
Songs for Achilles
The Knot Garden: Enough, Enough
Tippett: Dance, Clarion Air
Piano Concerto – 1: Allegro non troppo
Crown of the Year
The Blue Guitar
The Rose Lake

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Dominic Jewel for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Michael Tippett:
https://bbc.in/2GgqjyT

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2D2bA7h
via IFTTT

Franz Liszt

Donald Macleod delves into the life and work of Franz Liszt through five striking images.

Franz Liszt was the most photographed man of the 19th century and the most sculpted man aside from Napoleon – one of the most recognisable figures of his age. Donald Macleod delves into the life and work of the prolific composer and virtuoso pianist through five intriguing images. Through these, he examines the promotion of Liszt as a child prodigy, and how his persona of the ‘dramatic virtuoso’ was created. We also hear about Liszt’s complicated relationships: with women and his friend Richard Wagner, and his frantic threefold existence, living between Rome, Weimar and Budapest.

Music featured:

50 Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli – Variation 24
Hungarian Rhapsody No 2
Transcendental Etude No 4 ‘Mazeppa’
Don Sanche (The Castle of Love): Overture
Malédiction
Christus
Grandes Etudes de Paganini No 3 ‘La Campanella’
Totentanz
El Contrabandista – Rondo Fantastique
Grand Galop Chromatique
Cantata for Inauguration of the Beethoven Monument:
Soirées de Vienne No 6
Liebestraum No 3 (Nocturne)
Années de pèlerinage: Au lac de Wallenstadt
A Symphony to Dante’s Divine Comedy
Harmonies poétiques et religieuses: Cantique d’amour
Orpheus
Wieder möcht’ ich dir begegnen
Richard Wagner (arr. Franz Liszt) Tannhäuser: Choeur des Pèlerins
Prometheus
A Faust Symphony: III. Mephistopheles
In Liebeslust
The Legend of St Elizabeth: Chorus of the Angels
At the Grave of Richard Wagner
Legend of St Francis of Assisi: St Francis preaches to the birds
Via Crucis (Cruxis): Station VI
Hungarian Rhapsody No 9
Nuages Gris
Mephisto Waltz No 2
Années de pèlerinage: IV. Au bord d’une source
Richard Wagner (arr. Franz Liszt) Tristan und Isolde: Liebestod

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Sam Phillips for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Franz Liszt:
https://bbc.in/2B65YbZ

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2FMwZFj
via IFTTT

Jean-Philippe Rameau

Donald Macleod explores the operas of Jean-Phillipe Rameau.

At his death in 1764, Rameau, by then an octogenarian, had more than 30 stage works to his credit. It’s a remarkable achievement when you consider he produced his first opera at the age of 50. Up to that point, although details about his life are surprisingly patchy, he appears to have held a succession of posts in the provinces, as an organist, teacher and theoretician, seemingly without even a whiff of greasepaint. Then, at an age when one might assume his chosen path was settled, Rameau upped sticks, came back to Paris and conquered the stage with breathtaking speed.
Across the week Donald Macleod focusses on those heady, initial years in the French capital, building a picture of what made Rameau into a highly successful, if controversial, theatrical composer.

Music featured:
Hippolyte et Aricie
Thétis
Concert No. 1 in C minor
Les Indes Galantes (suite)
La Pouplinière
Nouvelles Suites de Pièces de Clavecin
Castor et Pollux
Quatrième concert
Les fêtes d’Hébé, (opera-ballet)
Le Rappel des Oiseaux
Les soupirs
Les cyclops
Les fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour
Dardanus
Les tricotets
L’indifferente
La poule
l’enharmonique
l’égiptienne

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Jean-Philippe Rameau: https://bbc.in/2RC7cpA

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2RC7dtE
via IFTTT

Felix Mendelssohn

Donald Macleod journeys through the life of Felix Mendelssohn.

Mendelssohn was a leading figure of German music in his day, and became something of an international celebrity. He was at the very forefront of music making during the 1830s and 1840s, as a composer, conductor, pianist and organist. He began as a highly gifted and versatile prodigy, and rose to become one of Germany’s first rank composers of the early romantic period. He composed music in many genres including concertos, oratorios, symphonies, songs and chamber music. Amongst some of his most famous works are the highly evocative and dramatic overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and his mature and richly romantic Violin Concerto.

In Composer of the Week, Donald Macleod journeys through the life of Felix Mendelssohn, exploring in particular a number of influences upon the composer’s works: Mozart, his travels in Italy, Bach, his visits to London, and his wife and muse, Cecile.

Music featured:
Die beiden Padagogen
Duo Sonata in G minor
Piano Quartet No 2 in F minor, Op 2 (Allegro molto vivace)
Piano Concerto in A minor
Lieder ohne Worte, Op 19B No 6 (Venetianisches Gondellied)
Psalm 115 Non nobis Domine, Op 31
Nachspiel in D major
Symphony No 4 in A major, Op 90 (Italian)
String Symphony No 5 in B flat major (Allegro vivace)
Prelude and Fugue No 1 in E minor, Op 35
Paulus, Op 36 (Rise! Up! Arise!)
Organ Sonata in C minor, No 2 Op 65
Elijah, Op 70 (It is enough)
Sechs Lieder ohne Worte, Book 1 Op 19b (Moderato)
Daniel Barenboim, piano
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Overture)
Rondo Brillant, Op 29
Erntelied, Op 8 No 4
Pilgerspruch, Op 8 No 5
Elijah, Op 70 (For the mountains shall depart)
Sechs Lieder ohne Worte Op 38 No 6 (Duetto: Andante)
Ich wollt’ meine Lieb’ ergosse sich, Op 63 No 1
Herbstlied, Op 63 No 4
Prelude and Fugue in C minor, Op 37 No 1
Concerto in E minor for violin and orchestra, Op 64
String Quartet in E minor, Op 44 No 2 (Presto agitato)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Felix Mendelssohn: https://bbc.in/2D4aJV4

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2H6pCKl
via IFTTT

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